Tag Archives: graduation

Goodbye UT, it’s been real!

This is it. My time at The University of Texas at Austin has come to an end. I must say, clicking “end meeting” at the end of my final undergraduate class was probably the most anti-climactic moment of my life.

As I write this article, graduation is in three days so naturally I’ve been looking back at the past four years. Getting to this point has definitely not been a walk in the park. It was more like a chaotic walk down Speedway in which I was run over by multiple bikes, tripped over several bricks, and fought for my life against an albino squirrel. But I’ve made it. My interactive degree audit says 100%. It’s over and I learned quite a lot. So as my parting gift to you, here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned at UT.

It’s okay if you got a 40 on your first chemistry exam

I went into that exam ready. I knew the material. I was confident. I was relaxed. Then we got the scores back, and I did horribly. I got a 40 on what was supposed to be the easiest exam of the semester. Did I cry in my dorm? Yes, but looking back, I wish I could say to myself: “stop being so dramatic, you’re not even going to be a pre-med major.” 

Yes, it sucked to fail but you just have to keep going. You have to see what you did wrong. What studying methods didn’t work? Which ones did? Talk to your professor, and take your time. I kept calm, continued to work hard and then got an 80 on exam two. You’re going to take a lot of exams and have a lot of assignments, don’t let that one bad grade derail you. As long as in the end you understand that topic to the best of your abilities, that’s all that matters.

As one of my favorite underrated Disney movies says: “keep moving forward.”

Invest in pass/fail

This might’ve just been me, but I wasn’t very knowledgeable about the pass/fail option pre-pandemic. This is why I let a D+ in biology completely tank my GPA when I could’ve just pss/failed the class. I highly suggest talking to your academic advisors about how pass/fail works and what it does to your GPA. Especially since classes are going back to in-person next semester, the unicorn COVID pass/fails will not be making a return.

Always remember. Pass/fail is not an excuse to completely stop trying in your class. You should still try your best, no matter what your best looks like. 

Do not take three major intensive courses at the same time

Now you can obviously do this if you so desire, but just know it’ll be awful. Fall semester 2019, I took Reporting: Words, Reporting: Images and Media Law all at the same time, and I’ve never been more exhausted in my life. It’s hard.

The key to surviving taking multiple intense courses at a time is time management and having a friend who will understand your pain (shoutout to Alyssa Crosby.) But the other key is to not do it. I know it may seem like it’s best to get them out the way, but there really is no rush. You’ll end up over-worked and highly stressed when you could be decently worked and moderately stressed. College isn’t a sprint race; it’s a slow jog with the occasional fast-walking.

Talk to yourself

This one is for my fellow journalism majors. As I’ve been studying journalism, the thing I’ve heard the most is; journalists struggle with finding their conversational voice. My tip for this; talk to yourself. I talk to myself like I’m a YouTube vlogger, documenting every single moment of my day. Do my roommates probably think I’m weird? Yes, but it really helps.

Conversational tone is all about writing as if you’re having a conversation with your readers. That’s a little hard to do since as you’re writing, the only reader listening to you is your Google Docs page. This just means you have to be your own reader. Talk to yourself as you write and it’ll come out naturally. If you don’t talk to yourself (weirdo), how do you talk to your friends? This is the key, then through in some jokes and a little sarcasm (with AP style of course), and you’re good to go!

Hook ‘Em

Here is where I throw in random tips because I couldn’t think of a good one to end the list.

Group projects are the worst thing on this planet, and there’s nothing you can do about them. Best thing to do is close your eyes, breathe and pray for the end. Are you really going to use that $200 textbook? Wait until you have an answer before you buy it because most of the time you can survive off lecture notes. If you’re taking a foreign language class, reverso is your best friend, trust me. Lastly, one you’ve heard many times before, join a club – they’re fun. If you’re in need of suggestions, BurntX is a great place to start.

And now I bid adieu to UT Austin, it truly has been real. Next stop – graduate school, please keep me in your thoughts.

Featured designs courtesy of Kara Fields

Affordable Graduation Gifts

Graduation is the next big step in adulting. Once students cross the stage they go on to do a number of things: some will go off to a new place to work, some may travel, some will get married, and others may head back home. Four (give or take) years of lectures and finals pay off with the diploma and it’s an overall exciting time for both the graduate and their loved ones. Usually this also leads to something nearly equally as exciting for the graduate- gifts! If you have someone close to you graduating and want to get them something without breaking the bank, these ideas are for you based on their plans (or lack thereof) after walking the stage.

If They’re Moving…

Monogram Mug

Photo courtesy of Target

Help add a personal touch to the graduate’s new home without giving them something too big that makes it hard for them to show their own style in the new space. A mug is a classic go-to, especially for coffee or tea enthusiasts, and is aesthetic enough on its own. This mug is only $5.99 at Target, but similar styles could be found elsewhere too. If they aren’t much for flowers there are also similar more minimal designs. Bonus? Add a gift card to Target or another home store to help them out a bit.

Succulent/House Plant

Photo courtesy of Etsy

Nothing says trendy like a succulent gift for a new apartment. These plants are low maintenance and can be purchased alone at an outdoor or grocery store for $5 or less. If you have a bit more room in the budget you can get them a cool planter like this sloth one for $18 or a personalized gift box for only $22 that you can check out here.

If They’re Traveling/”Finding Themselves,” etc…

Travel Size World Scratch Map

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Help the new explorer track their travels with a travel sized world map that they can scratch off after visiting each country. If they’re staying local, US maps are also available. Either way, this gift comes in at under $20 and is both thoughtful and aesthetic.

DIY Option: Travel Must Have Set

Photo courtesy of Amazon

To keep your gift personal and low budget, try this cool DIY option. Basically, find a cute travel sized bag/pouch (think the size of a makeup bag or wallet) and fill it with a few travel goodies like gum, candy, bandaids, travel charger, sleeping mask, whatever suits your fancy. You can make it as basic or as unique as you want. If they love Starbucks or McDonald’s there’s practically one everywhere so you could even put a $5 gift card in there to get them a drink/meal. These sets  can also be purchased, but I think it’s a cuter gift when it’s done personally.

Mini Backpack

Photo courtesy of Target

This travel essential is not only trendy, but super useful. Mini backpacks offer all of the same features as a regular sized one (including compartments to tuck away valuables) but with less of the bulkiness. They may not be the number one pick for an avid hiker, but if someone is just out exploring a few new cities, it’s a perfect pick. Prices vary on these tremendously, but you can purchase this one (either white or black) at Target for $20. I also recommend looking in-store at places like Urban Outfitters and American Eagle to shop their sale rack!

If They’re Moving Back Home…

A Book

Photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Hear me out! It isn’t super exciting, but books can be super helpful and a nice motivator or de-stressor. Finding a job is tough and even if they have one but have opted to live with their parents again, it is a big adjustment. “Almost Adulting” by Arden Rose has everything from sex to traveling alone to making friends, which sounds useful no matter what stage of life anyone is in, tbh. You can purchase it at a local bookstore or on Amazon here. Another great pick is Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop. It’s basically about…well what it sounds like. Pick up a copy here.

Lap Desk

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Whether it’s for job hunting, freelancing, or watching Netflix- a lap desk comes in handy for hours spent on the go and at home. I personally recommend going to HomeGoods or something similar to find a good deal, but a reasonably priced one can be found here.

Lush

Photo courtesy of Lush

Give the gift of relaxation after a long four years and go with a classic, vegan friendly option: Lush! They have gifts for both guys and girls alike and are super affordable. This “Happiness” gift set comes in at $19.95 and “Bath Art” is slightly cheaper at $18.95.

No matter what your budget or the graduate’s after college plans, there is definitely a thoughtful and useful gift you can give them. Especially if you’re having to buy multiple gifts, this list can be a life saver. Happy shopping!

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.